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Is this Possible in the Modern World?

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Globetrotting as it was done before industrialization.
13 years ago, January 18th 2008 No: 1 Msg: #25653  
Hi all,

I need some advice on a "trip" I have planned before grad school. I am going to grad school in the fall for my Masters of Public Health (I hope to gear my career toward healthcare in 3rd world countries) and plan to take a trip for 3 months before entering school. Here is the catch, I will have little or no money and I don't really even care where I go or what I see. I have a backpack and all the supplies for backpacking.

I hope to travel somewhat like a hobo. I am willing to hop trains/ stow away on boats or do anything to get anywhere anyone is going. Though, ideally I would like to earn my way wherever I am going. I am willing to work as long and hard as it takes to earn my keep. For example if I were able to find a ship captain of a tanker, cruise shit, or really any type of vessel I would be willing to be a porter or janitor or any position with my only pay being a one-way trip. I am generally pretty handy. I have experience with welding and metalwork, electrical work, carpentry, auto/boat/small plain mechanics, plumbing and just about any skilled trade. I also have a degree in Neurobiology and consider myself fairly intelligent and very open-minded, but I doubt my proof of education will get me as far as skilled trades for what I want to do. I would be willing to scrub the toilets of the dirtiest ship on the ocean for weeks just for free passage to wherever they were going. I also consider myself fairly tough, able to work very long hours on difficult or even repulsive tasks. When I get where I am going I will be able to pay to stay in hostels but I would prefer to trade any type of work needed for very brief food and lodging. I want to experience the cultures and day to day lives of people anywhere in the world and everywhere in the world. This trip isn’t about any destination it’s about the journey.

I hope to reach the coast by hitchhiking or if by no other option, rideshare….or train hopping. If I did thumb it from Texas over to a port, do you think I could find a means across oceans in the manner described above. I could write a book on what I want to do for this trip but first I others perspective and ideas on how to start it and if it is possible. Please let me know any feedback, good or bad you may have. Any commentary is much appreciated.
Reply to this

13 years ago, January 18th 2008 No: 2 Msg: #25655  
B Posts: 5,195
It's feasible and sounds like a fantastic adventure... one thing you may have not thought about is hitching by Yacht - a friend spent years doing this - cooking, cleaning in exchange for board, travel and food. ... where are those url's? - I can't remember them at the moment but there are resources on the net for this - though being in the right bar at the right time is always the best way. Reply to this

13 years ago, January 18th 2008 No: 3 Msg: #25656  
Great! Thanks Ali, I have a few months before I plan on starting this so I plan to scour the net and any other resource for such options. Reply to this

13 years ago, January 20th 2008 No: 4 Msg: #25715  
This sounds like an amazing and challenging trip. I heard of someone who travelled across America by "air hitching". Apparently the guy turned up at small, private airfields in the US, spoke to a few people and found private pilots who were willing to take him on their small cross-country flights. It's something else to add to the possibilities

As for crossing seas and oceans, I know there are means of crossing for free from England at least. A friend of mine managed to hitch a ride with a truck driver from the port town of Dover, and ended up in North Italy Reply to this

13 years ago, January 20th 2008 No: 5 Msg: #25724  
It's possible indeed. However, when I was up to it myself, I found impossible to hitch a ride on tankers or other big commercial vessels. I met several ship owners during my quest and all of them said they had often offered something like that in the past but that today they don't anymore for reason of liability and insurance. Plus, modern ships have such a tiny number of crew members they definetely don't need a second cook or stuff like that. So, unless you are a certified seaman of any sort, your best bet is to search for a lift on private, smaller vessels where you will do a bit of everything in return for food, lodging, a free ride and -if you are really lucky- some pocket money. A word of advice, anyway, if you haven't ever lived on a boat consider that sea-sickness on small vessels can be a true nightmare and that once you are in the middle of an ocean there is no way out. Don't understimate that.
As for hitchhiking on the road, that's far easier. Truckers are your best bet for long journeys altough I personally prefer short trips with different drivers: it's more interesting.
Good luck.
Marco Reply to this

13 years ago, January 21st 2008 No: 6 Msg: #25774  
Hello Joey 😊

Whenever I hear somebody ask your question I think it is certainly worth trying as a challange.
People who want to do it hobo style generally get put down on a lot of travel forums I visit. I really dont see why. At least people seem to be better behaved here on this site so far.
I sure hope u will write a blog after u do it. I dont quite travel hobo style. More of a budget backpacker. But if I did not have the money to backpack I would certainly be interested in doing it the way u plan.

Rather that stowing away on trains what about u walk or cycle? I am not sure stowing away is easy to do these days. There seems to be more safety restrictions so access to getting on trains, ships... without anybody noticing is difficult.

U can easily ask farmers if u can sleep in their barns. I think many will allow this. Or if u have a tent they may let u sleep in their fields. At least that is how it is here in Germany where I live or so I have heard.

Mell Reply to this

13 years ago, January 21st 2008 No: 7 Msg: #25779  
Thanks, great advice Mell. I have some pretty decent backpacking gear and if many farmers are indifferent to letting me sleep in their feilds I am sure it will become my primary place to lay me head. Also, I actually have a fair bit of money saved up - I could easily afford to budget backpack or even get a couple of plane rides but I figure I will be able to do that the whole rest of my life. This might be the only chance to do it the hard way. Plus I will always have enough to buy a ticket home in event of emergency. Thanks again for the advice, it give me a great feel for what to expect and what to bring. Reply to this

13 years ago, January 26th 2008 No: 8 Msg: #26111  
Hey Joey:

I can recommend the sites couchsurfing and hospitalityclub for sleeping in people´s houses for free, you have to become a member and have a profile, but it´s free and totally worth it!! we've used it and it's the best way to meet locals and get advice on the best places in town!!!

I also recommend the book Vagabonding of Rolf Potts, it´s a great book full of advice in this kind of questions...I've read it sooo many times...

Anyway, I agree with Mell that I hope you let us know through your blog how this develops, I'm looking forward to it!!!
Good luck!!! ;o)
Reply to this

12 years ago, January 27th 2008 No: 9 Msg: #26189  
denidax- I read a few reviews of the book you recommended. It looks like a great read. It should be in the mail as we speak. I'll let you know what I think. Thanks! Reply to this

12 years ago, January 29th 2008 No: 10 Msg: #26319  
I'm actually thinking of doing something like that too, although in a much grander scale.
I was thinking of taking a trip through Asia & Europe as cheap as possible (exept for the start of the trip where I take the Trans-siberian railway from Moscow to Beijing).
One of the reasons I came to this forum is to ask about this. I'll start my own thread about it though. Just good to know that there is more people doing stuff like this. Reply to this

12 years ago, January 29th 2008 No: 11 Msg: #26320  
B Posts: 5,195
Just another thought as it occurs - bicycle - cheapest way to travel by far. Biggest cost - the fuel to keep the engine going 😉

This is a great blog from a couple with plans to cycle from Scotland to Turkey - in 2005; Banchory to the Bosphorous by Bike

The best thing about that blog is (well - there are lots of best things 😉) - they are still going and are currently in China (I think!) Reply to this

12 years ago, January 29th 2008 No: 12 Msg: #26322  
Ah, thank you. They are doing (almost) EXACTLY the thing I want to do (altough in the other direction). I have to read everything they've written, It looks so great! Reply to this

12 years ago, January 29th 2008 No: 13 Msg: #26325  
B Posts: 5,195
The Bicycle Bloggers - forum post with as many as I could find at the time - there are definitely more on the site now... have fun reading and do recommend any that you find with the whole "Hobo Travel" theme. Reply to this

12 years ago, January 29th 2008 No: 14 Msg: #26327  
Sure, will do! Reply to this

12 years ago, January 31st 2008 No: 15 Msg: #26485  
A more recent cycling blog is Sonya and Nigel. They cycled most of the way from the UK to Hongkong via the northern route. Currently in NZ. Reply to this

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